This post

will be the final one for this website, a dedicated site for the duration of our job action. Today marks the ratification of our new collective agreement, and by moving our communications back to the main site at AUNBT.ca, we mark that transition. This site will remain available as a record of the remarkable three weeks we were on strike and locked out. And, we trust, as the sign at a fork in our collective road.

FT Collective Agreement Ratified

Following two days of voting the results are in: 90% in favour of ratification.

And, we heard this evening that earlier today, the BoG, in a special meeting, voted to ratify.

So. The strike and lockout are no longer merely suspended: they have ended.

The following message went out to members earlier this evening:

Dear AUNBT members,

 This is to tell you that the FT tentative agreement has been ratified by a 90% vote across the four campuses.
The next step in the process is ratification by the Board of Governors. Once that is accomplished, we will officially have a new FT collective agreement.
Before too long we will enter the agreed-upon limited arbitration process, and your union will keep you informed as events develop.
The document itself will be posted to the AUNBT website once the process is complete.
Please join me in thanking our bargaining team, Lloyd Waugh, Matt Hiltz, Francesca Holyoke, Jeff Houlahan, Charlene Mayes and Melanie Wiber, for well over a year of sometimes difficult work. We all owe them a huge debt of gratitude. And a big thank you to all of you, for without your resolve we would be in a very different position.
Now let us get back to our teaching and our research. And to rebuilding our university.
In solidarity,
Miriam Jones
President, AUNBT

A press release was sent to the media shortly after the members were informed: Continue reading FT Collective Agreement Ratified

Open letter

Reflections on a job action

The following letter was written by our colleague Tom Beckley and shared with his permission:

I love UNB. Before the recent job action, I couldn’t say I felt that way. I loved my job. I loved my students. I loved that working at my job at UNB gave me the opportunity to work in this lovely, quiet corner of Canada called New Brunswick. I loved that I was compensated well for doing intellectually engaging and creative work, and that every year, I was able to introduce wild and dangerous ideas to a new crop of eager minds. But I can’t say that I loved UNB. I didn’t love UNB, because I didn’t really know UNB.  Despite working here for 14 years, and serving a term on Faculty Senate and on many inter-faculty and faculty committees, I couldn’t say that I felt connected to the institution. And that was because, working in a small and cloistered academic unit, I didn’t know the institution’s essence.

Three weeks on the picket lines has changed all that. Yesterday I sat in a room with about 300 members of the AUNBT and heard the terms of the tentative deal. There was some relief in the room and a sense of accomplishment, but also anger, confusion, and frustration. This myriad of emotions and perspectives was voiced articulately and passionately by our members. And this is what a university is about. This is what a university is supposed to be. It is a place where the fierce clash of ideas can occur, but where we respect one another’s different views and continue on working for the greater good. This group of professors and librarians, while a fraction of the UNB family, is its core and its essence. We could not do our jobs without the support of technicians, building and grounds crews, food service workers, recruiters, development and front office staff and hundreds of others, but we are central to the mission of the university and some have forgotten that. We professors and librarians are all there for the common purpose of discovery, illumination, experimentation and the creation of new knowledge. We are charged with the awesome responsibility of educating the youth (and increasingly curious adult learners) of this province, and also those from away who choose to study here. We are paid by student fees and provincial tax dollars for the public purpose of making New Brunswick a better, smarter, richer place. For the first time, I feel connected to this group and to our collective greater purpose. By working in our little corners of the rabbit warren that is a university, we never get much opportunity to build connections across faculty or disciplinary boundaries. Sometimes the university budget process has felt like a zero sum game, with others having to lose for your own academic unit to win. As such, we have sometimes view one another with jealousy, or suspicion. All the while, administration was pulling the strings, crying wolf (of “structural deficit”), denying new faculty hires, diverting funds into non-academic pursuits and keeping us divided.

I fear that there may be some backlash to the experience of this job action, and that some of my colleagues may choose a negative frame for this event. They may choose to NOT love UNB. One colleague wrote on Facebook, “My UNB email is back up, but I am never going to use it again.” I understand the sentiment. The university administration denied us of our ability to communicate with one another, with our students, and with our community stakeholders. This disruption struck at the core of what a university is supposed to be about, communication, dissemination of information and understanding. But I would encourage this colleague (who laboured tirelessly during the strike) to work to make it so UNB could not or would not ever pull a stunt like this again. Rather than turn our backs on UNB, we must embrace it, love it, and commit to its long-term viability and integrity.

For students, it is hard to put a positive spin on this job action. They justifiably feel betrayed by the administration and faculty members alike, but we faculty are on the front lines. I am on sabbatical this term and won’t be returning to a classroom to face the students, but I plan to make myself available to them. When I do, I will tell them that we fought, not for money, but for a principle. That principle is comparability, equality, and the right to call ourselves a national comprehensive university. Some will believe it, some won’t, but if we follow through on the myriad of ideas brought up on the picket lines for how to make UNB better, we can be role models for fighting for principles. What better group to do that than the creators, purveyors and custodians of knowledge that make up our union? In the final analysis showing how to fight for a principle could be the best and most powerful thing we could teach our students.

So, I would like to issue this challenge or invitation to my colleagues, whichever way they would like to take it. Let us make this strike/lockout be the crucible from which a better, stronger and more democratic UNB is born. Rather than turn our backs on UNB and work to rule, or something akin to that, let’s recommit. Let’s take back our university for the purpose it was originally intended. Ultimately, that will be the greatest service we can provide to future students, and if we pull it off, the current students whom we have greatly annoyed and inconvenienced may one day look back with pride and say, “I was there when UNB turned the corner. I was there for that piece of history.” I am not sure how I will fit in to this effort of re-making and “taking back” UNB, but I want to play my part. I hope my colleagues will join me. If we take our pay increases and go back into our dark corners of the rabbit warren and do nothing to alter the course the administration has charted for our institution, we will only prove our naysayers right. So let’s let the end of the strike/lockout be the beginning of something. Something big and something better. As far as I am concerned, the fight has just begun.

(Letter as a PDF. Cross-posted to main site.)

Ratification Vote

will take place Wednesday, February 5, 2014 and Thursday, February 6, 2014 from 9am to 4pm both days, at the following locations:

  • Fredericton — AUNBT office, IUC Science Library 112
  • Saint John — AUNBT office, HH Annex 16
  • Moncton — 55 Lutz St. (P. Smith’s office)
  • Bathurst — 725 College St. #350 (S. Hebert’s office)

Documents for ratification

Three documents have been posted to the main website to help you in your deliberations before voting later this week:

Two documents on the password-protected page at the main site

  • Summary of Issues for Arbitration as of 2014 January 30 (Word)
  • Package of signed proposals as of of 2014 January 30 (ZIP)

One document on a public page:

  • Summary of Articles Signed During Bargaining (Jan. 2014) (Word)

[This message was sent out on both the UNB.ca and the alternate listservs.]

Second ratification meeting added

A second ratification meeting has been arranged for 6pm on Tuesday to accommodate members who are in class during the day. These are informational rather than voting meetings, at which members of the bargaining team and others will explain details of the tentative agreement in preparation for voting on Wednesday and Thursday. 
 
Both meetings will be videoconferenced between Fredericton and Saint John. The 2:30pm meeting will also be videoconferenced for Bathurst and Moncton. Arrangements can be made to teleconference the 6pm meeting to Bathurst and Moncton. Both meetings are in the same locations:
 
• Fredericton – Wu Centre Auditorium
• Saint John – Hazen Hall Lecture Theatre
• Moncton – 55 Lutz Street, Rm 217
• Bathurst – Bathurst site Rm U352
 
[A reminder to Collective Bargaining Council members of the meeting today at 4pm, videoconferenced between the Wu Centre and Oland Hall 203.]

Lack of a back-to-work protocol / returning to work

The following message was emailed to members this evening:

We have not been able to reach agreement with the employer on a back-to-work protocol. We would advise members to return to the classroom tomorrow morning for the benefit of our students and as a gesture of good faith despite this lack of agreement. We will seek the input of the Collective Bargaining Council at the meeting tomorrow on whether or not to refer outstanding matters of the back-to-work protocol to arbitration. Thank you for your patience.

[cross-posted to main site]

Where we are

[The following message was sent out today via email but not all members have had services restored. Cross-posted to main site.]

Timeline:

  • AUNBT and UNB management signed a tentative agreement on Thurs. Jan. 30/14
  • AUNBT verbally agreed to suspend strike action as of 12:01 am Sat. Feb. 1/14, and
  • UNB management verbally agreed to suspend the lockout as of 12:01 am Sat. Feb. 1/14 (i.e. members could return to campus over the weekend)
  • AUNBT and UNB management each sent out the following mutually-agreed-upon media release on Thurs. Jan. 30/14:

The AUNBT and UNB are pleased to announce an agreement to recommend suspension of the strike/lockout. This comes as a result of reaching a tentative agreement on the key issues related to wages. The parties agree to jointly announce further details within the next 24 hours.

  • AUNBT and UNB management began to work on a back-to-work-protocol; however, no protocol has yet been signed and no further joint announcements have been proposed or made.
  • According to the UNB website, ITS undertook to restore network services to members by end of day Fri. Jan. 31/14. There are reports that full service for everyone may have taken longer. (If anyone is still experiencing problems, please let us know.)
  • UNB management publicly announced that classes would resume on Mon. Feb. 3
  • UNB further publicly announced the following changes to the winter term:

In an effort to ensure students complete the Winter term and graduate on time and with minimal impact on lost teaching days, classes will be extended until April 17. The exam period will now be April 22 – 30, including exams on Sunday, April 27. 

To accommodate this new schedule, which must be approved by the Academic Senates, the March Reading Week will be used for classes. This arrangement will result in the loss of only four teaching days and allow for the summer term to begin as scheduled.

[NB. as of this writing no dates have been announced for special meetings of the Senates. The next scheduled meetings are Feb. 18 & 19 ]

AUNBT processes:

  • The Collective Bargaining Team recommends ratification to the membership
  • On Thurs. Jan. 30/14 the Collective Bargaining Committee voted to recommend ratification to the membership
  • On Fri. Jan. 31/14 the Executive Committee voted to recommend ratification to the membership
  • The Collective Bargaining Council is meeting on Mon. Feb. 3 at 4pm, as per the AUNBT constitution, to decide on a recommendation to the membership (rooms TBA; meeting will be videoconferenced)
  • AUNBT is holding a Ratification Meeting for all FT members, to be videoconferenced between Fredericton/Saint John/Moncton/Bathurst on Tues. Feb. 4, 2014 @ 2:30 pm:
      • Fredericton – Wu Centre Auditorium
      • Saint John – Hazen Hall Lecture Theatre
      • Moncton – 55 Lutz Street, Rm 217
      • Bathurst – Bathurst site Rm U352
  • Strike pay for the period Jan. 27 – Jan. 31:
      • Fredericton – strike pay may be picked up at strike headquarters on Mon. Feb. 3, from 9am to 3pm and on Tues. Feb. 4 from 10:30am to 1:30pm
      • Saint John – strike pay will be available in the the AUNBT office on Mon. Feb. 3, from 10am to 4pm [previous information incorrect]
      • Bathurst – contact Joan Williamson
      • Moncton – contact Andy Didyk
      • [NB. as we have no back-to-work protocol as of this writing, the Jan. 31 stop date is not yet official. If salary and benefits do not resume on Sat. Feb. 1 at 12:01am as was verbally agreed, AUNBT will adjust members’ strike pay accordingly.]
  • Further issues: member_issues@aunbt.ca remains active

AUNBT walks the line

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